Thursday, February 19, 2009 Pro-Life News Report 2/19/09

Obama to Name Pro-Abortion Kathleen Sebelius as Health Secretary, Officials Say
Washington, DC ( -- While House officials say President Barack Obama will name pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who has been criticized for refusing to limit late-term abortions, as the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. Obama advisors notified the media late Wednesday that the president has settled on Sebelius as his top choice for the position, though her has not made his decision official. The New York Times indicates the White House has not finished vetting Sebelius for the post and officials were unsure whether the process would be complete in time for her to be nominated next week. The newspaper indicated the advisors described Sebelius as the "leading candidate" and said no other potential candidates have been mention, although they insisted the decision is not final. As the health secretary, Sebelius could have an impact in crafting a health care plan that could cover abortions with taxpayer funds or require insurance companies to cover abortions in their plans. Sebelius is most notorious for her close relationship with late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, who has escaped prosecution and accountability thus far for allegedly repeatedly violating state abortion laws. That followed by a year her veto of a bill requiring explicit medical reasons for a late abortion, which was preceded by vetoing other pro-life legislation in 2006, 2005 and 2003. Full story at

Report Details How Use of Fetal Stem Cells in Treatment Caused Brain Tumors
Washington, DC ( -- A new report in a medical journal details how the use of fetal stem cells in the treatment of a boy from Israel caused brain tumors. The report highlights the problems of using cells obtained from destroying unborn children, such as embryonic stem cells, and the problems they create for patients. The report covers a family who was desperate to save their child, who suffered from a lethal brain disease called ataxia telangiectasia, or A-T. It involves degeneration of certain portions of the brain leading to the child being unable to move and a deterioration of the immune system. The family turned to scientists in Russia who injected, on various occasions, the neural stem cells obtained from unborn children. They eventually caused a benign, slow-growing brain tumor three years later when the boy complained of headaches. The cell injections also created a second tumor on his spinal cord, which doctors have removed. The growth on the spine has not reappeared but the mass in the brain has continued to grow slowly. The researchers, from Tel Aviv University, published a report about the problems associated with the fetal cell injections in the Tuesday issue of Public Library of Science Medicine. They say the cells were to blame for the tumor growths. Full story at

National Blueprint? Report Details Reasons for New U. Wisconsin Abortion Center
Madison, WI ( -- In what could become a national blueprint for expanding abortion, a new report issued by leading pro-life advocates exposes the financial and political reasons the University of Wisconsin opened up a new abortion business. Other leading universities could file suit as abortion businesses close. The story line from Wisconsin goes something like this: after a second-trimester abortion practitioner retired, staff at UW Hospital decided on their own to open an abortion business within the university. But an email exchange that went on for months between abortion practitioners Caryn Dutton of Madison and Fredrik Broekhuizen of Milwaukee and staff at UW Hospital in Madison paints a very different picture. The emails reveal the incredible motivations and internal politics surrounding the venture to perform late-term abortions at the Madison Surgery Center. In an opinion piece appearing in today's Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel newspaper, Wisconsin Right to Life executive director Barbara Lyons reveals the profit-motive behind the new abortion business. Lyons also reveals how those involved admitted they wish to make abortions "mainstream" by forcing them into a surgery center where people go for routine outpatient procedures. Full story at

Catholic Priest Returns Italian Award After Nation Allows Killing of Eluana Englaro
Rome, Italy ( -- A Catholic priest has returned the award he received from the president of Italy in protest of the nation allowing Eluana Englaro's father to subject her to a starvation euthanasia death. Father Aldo Trento, who works with severely disabled and minimally conscious patients like Englaro, is upset she was killed. Englaro had been in a minimally conscious state since 1992, when she was involved in an automobile accident. After four days earlier this month of partial starvation and dehydration, she died. Father Trento, a missionary at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo in Paraguay, heads a clinic for the terminally ill. According to a Zenit report, he received the title "Knight of the Order of the Star of Solidarity" in June from Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. But last week, he returned the honor to Napolitano after his refusal to sign a special Cabinet-approved measure that would have saved Englaro's life. "How can I, an Italian citizen, receive such an honor from you, who, with your action, permitted the death of Eluana in the name of the Italian Republic?" he said, according to Zenit. Full story at

Most Pro-Life Catholic Colleges Make Group's Top List of Affordable Universities
Washington, DC ( -- The Catholic colleges that have the most pro-life identities have made it to the top of the list the Cardinal Newman Society has put together of the most affordable Catholic universities. The group's new report reveals that some of the most faithful Catholic colleges are the most affordable. The new independent report on college costs is published by The Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education, the research division of CNS. The Center commissioned this report in response to the economic recession as a way of helping parents and students as they consider various options for colleges. The study compares the faithfully Catholic colleges recommended in the CNS guide to picking a Catholic college with other Catholic colleges and other private colleges on issues such as tuition, institutional aid, student debt and overall affordability. Not surprisingly, the colleges that most closely align themselves with the pro-life teaching of the Catholic Church are the ones that give parents and students the best value for the money. The study found average tuition for students at the recommended pro-life Catholic colleges is about $3,000 less than at other Catholic colleges and about $1,000 less than the average private college.
Full story at

It's Never Too Late to Become Pro-Life: Why Education on Abortion Still Works
by Maria Vitale

An 86-year-old woman called me recently with a question. She had studied some pro-life fact sheets, and, as a result, she had switched her position from "pro-choice" to "pro-life." She had even written a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to change his position as well. "What happens when the girl goes into the clinic?" she asked me. I explained what we knew from women who have talked about undergoing abortions, and what we've learned from undercover investigations, such as those conducted by UCLA student Lila Rose. But she was not satisfied. She wanted to know exactly what happens during an abortion in other words, how an abortion is performed. She was embarrassed to say that, despite being a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother, she still really didn't know what abortion is all about. She wanted details. When I went to journalism school, my professors urged us to be specific in our stories. We were to assume that the reader knew nothing about the subject we were writing about. Medical terms, in particular, were to be avoided, and layman's language was to be used instead.
The funny thing is, if you read a typical news article on abortion, there is no definition of terms. It's assumed that everyone knows what abortion is. Full story at

Hawaii Bill for Assisted Suicide Fast-Tracked, Gets House Panel Hearing in Days
Honolulu, HI ( -- A Hawaii state House committee will hold a hearing within days on a bill that would make the state the fourth to legalize assisted suicide. The bill has been fast-tracked and will skip a health panel that has defeated the measure during past sessions of the state legislature. Assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, and Washington voters and Montana courts made those states the second and third to allow the practice. Although the Hawaii legislature has defeated past attempts to turn physicians into what opponents call "merchants of death," the moving of the bill to a different committee could make it more difficult for the groups fighting it. In opposing the assisted suicide bill, pro-life groups have joined with Catholic organizations, disability rights advocates and doctors groups. According to Scott Foster of Hawaii Death With Dignity, a hearing notice could come out within the next few days about HB 806 and HB 587 in the House Judiciary Committee. Foster applauds the fast-tracking of the bill, saying "it bypasses the House Health Committee where our bill has been routinely killed in past years. This 'fast track' suggests that the bill may have a fighting chance." ACTION: Contact the members of the Hawaii House Judiciary and urge opposition to the assisted suicide bills. Go to to find a list of members to contact. /
Full story at

North Dakota State House Approves Personhood-Abortion Ban Legislation
Bismarck, ND ( -- The North Dakota state House on Tuesday approved a bill that declares unborn children as persons beginning at the point of fertilization, or conception. The bill could be used to challenge the Supreme's Court's infamous Roe v. Wade ruling and ban abortions. Because the bill defines an unborn baby as a person, an abortion of an unborn child would be considered murder under state law. The legislative chamber approved House Bill 1572 on a 51-41 vote and now the measure heads to the state Senate for consideration. Republican Rep. Dan Ruby, who has also sponsored other pro-life bills this legislative session, is the main sponsor of the personhood bill. He says the measure fits in with what the Supreme Court said in Roe, namely that abortion would be illegal if the personhood of the unborn child could be asserted. "This is the exact language that's required by Roe vs. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that's what this does," he said. Still, he said that the measure doesn't go as far as banning abortions in the same way a previous bill had or the two ballot measures neighboring South Dakota considered. Full story at

Georgia Pro-Life Group Bill Will Limit In Vitro Fertilization Use Amid Concerns
Atlanta, GA ( -- With concerns that the use of the medical technology is going overboard, a Georgia pro-life group is working with legislators for a bill that would limit the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The bill comes at a time when concerns are high regarding a mother who recently gave birth to eight IVF-produced children. Georgia Right to Life tells that it has a lawmaker who has filed the Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act in the Georgia Senate. The group says it is apparent from the recent birth of octuplets to a southern California woman that the fertility industry needs governmental oversight, thus the need for SB 169. This industry is one of the most lucrative medical fields and among the least regulated, the group says. In response to this need, Sen. Ralph Hudgens, along with other co-sponsors in the Senate leadership, have introduced legislation that will place limits on the creation and transfer of embryos produced by IVF.
"This bill is written to help reduce the attendant harm that could come to the mother and her children through the creation and implantation of more embryos than is medically recommended by industry watchdog groups like the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology," GRTL president Daniel Becker tells Full story at

Oklahoma State House Panel OKs Pro-Life Bill Prohibiting Sex-Selection Abortions
Oklahoma, OK ( -- An Oklahoma state legislative panel approved a bill on Tuesday that prohibits using abortions for purposes of sex-selection. The House Public Health Committee passed the legislation on a 20-2 vote and the measure also requires abortion practitioners to report certain information to the state health department. Rep. Dan Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican, is the sponsor of the sex-selection abortion ban, which he says is designed to stop couples from using abortion as a method of obtaining the gender of the baby they want. "As designer babies become more prevalent, we must do all we can to ensure unborn children are not killed simply because a dad always dreamed of having a son," Sullivan said. Sullivan said he "hasn't received any definite information that proves" that sex-selection abortions are happening in Oklahoma, but one report from last year suggests that may be the case. Researchers Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences saying that, even though the practice of sex-selection abortions is most commonly associated with the cultural mores of Asian nations like China or India, it is happening locally. Full story at

Virginia Choose Life License Plates Pass next Hurdle With House Panel Backing
Richmond, VA ( -- Virginia's Choose Life License plates have had an interesting turn of events in the state legislation. After the bill allowing them met defeat in a Senate committee, the full Senate allowed an amendment adding them to an omnibus licensee plate bill. Now, a state House subcommittee has moved them further. On Tuesday morning, a sub-committee of the House Committee on Transportation approved SB 817, the omnibus bill containing the pro-life license plates, on a 4-3 vote. Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, shared the latest news with "This legislation is still steaming ahead, and so far has continued to eek by every obstacle," she said. "Yesterday morning, that bill narrowly squeaked by again in a sub-committee," Cobb explained. "This is while Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sat in the room surely wondering why they just can't get this bill to die." The plates would allow some of the purchase price to go to groups that help women avoid abortions by providing them with adoption and pregnancy help. Of every $40 spent on the plates, $15 will go to pregnancy centers. Full story at

Arizona Pro-Life Advocates Pray for President Obama on Abortion as He Visits
Mesa, AZ ( -- Knowing they would have a chance to possibly challenge him on his pro-abortion views, pro-life advocates in Arizona held a prayer vigil outside the venue where President Barack Obama made a campaign-style stop to promote his signing the so-called economic stimulus bill. About 150 pro-life Catholics gathered at Mesa's St. Timothy Catholic Community church to pray that the president change his mind on abortion. "We need to take seriously the obligation as citizens to pray for our president and our leaders," the parish priest, Father Jack Spaulding, told the East Valley Tribune newspaper. They need to be lifted up in prayer." "As Catholics, this is a tremendous opportunity for each one of us to put our faith into action through a peaceful and prayerful acknowledgement that everyone, including our president, must respect the sanctity of all human life, especially the unborn," Spaulding said. Full story at